Fans were shocked to see Penn Badgley depart from his typical boy-next-door role as the mysterious Joe Goldberg, a bookshop manager who seemed too good to be true—because he is—when he returned to television in You. The complete opposite of any role Penn Badgley has played before, Joe Goldberg is obsessive, cunning, and lethal—clear evidence of the actor’s excellent acting abilities. With a fourth season of You on the horizon, Penn Badgley has established himself as Joe Goldberg, the antihero. But prior to his work on the popular Netflix series, the actor experimented with a number of other character types. Before Netflix’s You, check out these nine performances by Penn Badgley.
Adam Green’s Aladdin (2016)
In this silly adaptation of the Disney classic, Penn Badgley plays The Prince of Monaco in Adam Green’s Aladdin. Given his limited screen time, the movie isn’t particularly noteworthy for Badgley, but it does successfully display his natural humorous wit.
Emma Stone plays Olive Penderghast in this romantic comedy. Olive is a high school student who becomes the target of a malicious rumor that causes her to become an instant celebrity among her peers. Olive makes the situation worse by spreading the story in an effort to protect her classmates’ privacy, and she ultimately becomes a social outcast. Nevertheless, Todd (played by Badgley) continues to be Olive’s lone confidant and offers support throughout her suffering, garnering Olive’s affection in the process. One of Penn Badgley’s most appealing performances, Todd shows off Badgley’s wide range as an actor by playing a character wholly opposed to Joe Goldberg.
Do Over (2002)
In 2002, the WB aired this teen comedy. The story centers on Joel Larson, who in 2002 was sent back to the early 1980s to relive his boyhood. With the wisdom of a 35-year-old man trapped in a 15-year-old body, Joel is able to assist his friends and family in rewriting the choices that would result in their becoming their terrible future selves. Even though Badgley gave a funny performance, the show was canceled after one season despite having an engaging narrative.
Dan Humphrey, Penn Badgley’s most famous character after Joe Goldberg, is the heartthrob who has an on-and-off relationship with Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. Dan is a dashing, poetic, brilliant blogger with an enthusiastic outlook on life who helps Serena learn to appreciate people for who they are inside and out. Dan is the ideal counterbalance to her outgoing and somewhat shallow demeanor. Joe Goldberg’s potential is what Dan Humphrey is, minus the psychopathic characteristics. Despite the fact that Dan has flaws, the six-season run of Gossip Girls ultimately shows that he has a romantic side that makes him the best possible match for Serena.
John Tucker Must Die (2006)
Scott Tucker is portrayed by Penn Badgley in his debut movie appearance. He is John Tucker’s brother, the dishonest lead actor in the movie, who is also kind, smart, and generally trustworthy. Scott is a companion of the main character, Kate, who frequently acts as her moral compass while she hatches plans to take out John Tucker. Scott is a counterpoint to John Tucker in every aspect possible. In his portrayal of Scott Tucker, the nerdy guy with a good heart frequently seen in romantic comedies, Badgley excels.
Penn Badgley plays Seth Bregman in Margin Call, a businessman who is dragged into a financial catastrophe by his colleague Peter Sullivan. One of Badgley’s most relatable characters is Bregman; he strives hard to succeed inside his firm but is just one mistake away from losing it all. Seth Bregman stands in for the working class people who spend their entire lives attempting to make a name for themselves in capitalist America, only to have those in positions of power frustrate every effort they make.
The Paper Store (2016)
In the 2016 romantic drama Sigurd Rossdale, Bagley plays the role. Sigurd is involved in a turbulent relationship with Annalee Monegan (Stef Dawson), a brilliant student who takes advantage of her ability to write well in order to make money off of other college students. Sigurd is a smart, eloquent, and endearing individual who has many traits with Joe Goldberg. But unlike Goldberg, Rossadale is genuinely a lovely guy who is just attempting to overcome the emotional distance separating him from Annalee.
The Stepfather (2009)
Penn Badgley plays Michael Harding, the eldest son of a family caught up in the homicidal scheme of a serial killer, David Harris, in this remake of the 1987 horror movie The Stepfather. Susan dismisses Michael’s attempts to alert his mother to his impending stepfather’s history of murder as a cry for attention. Michael sets out to stop David with nothing but his wits and a desire to keep his family safe. This leads to a climactic rooftop combat where Michael narrowly escapes death. Despite being unquestionably the nice person in this situation, Michael’s pursuit of David serves as character development for Badgley’s upcoming role in You.
The Young and the Restless
Penn In the daytime serial series The Young and the Restless, where he plays Phillip Chancellor, the son of Nina Webster and Phillip Chancellor III, Badgley played his first on-screen role. Although various actors have played the role of the character, Badgley’s portrayal received considerable praise and led to his nomination for a Young Artist Award.
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